Traditionally, a claimant could only apply for SSDI benefits on the internet. If that claimant wanted to also seek SSI benefits, she had to check a box on her SSDI application. Social Security would then, in theory at least, get back to her and take the SSI application.
A Welcome Change
Due to a recent change, however, claimants can now apply for SSI online. Not only is this more convenient, it also avoids potential pitfalls. In the past, many people simply missed the box that indicated they wanted to apply for SSI. These claimants assumed they had applied for all the benefits to which they were entitled. But, failing to apply for SSI can be a big problem. In some cases, it can mean that an applicant gets no benefits at all, despite being disabled. This could occur, for example, if the applicant's date last insured was at some point in the distant past.
Note The Requirements To Apply Online
This is a welcome change and should make the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits easier and more uniform.
You can apply online if you:
- Are between the ages of 18 and 65;
- Have never been married;
- Aren't blind;
- Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the fifty states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and
- Haven't applied for or received disability or SSI benefits in the past.
The most notable of these requirements is that the person has not applied for nor received Social Security benefits in the past. Many claimants have applied for SSI three, five, or even ten times. Others are trying to get their benefits back after an interruption. I am not sure why Social Security included this requirement.Perhaps they will drop it at some point.
Remember that no matter how you apply for disability benefits, be sure to follow up with Social Security if you have not heard from them within a month of applying.
As always, I welcome your questions and concerns. If you have applied for SSI online, how did it go? Let me know.